Physical pain is a daily experience for people living with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). Mindfulness meditation can be a great tool for coping with the pain of HS. In this video, Dr. Christiane Wolf leads a 12-minute guided meditation to help you explore the physical sensations in your body and calm your mind.
00:00:05:14 - 00:00:43:22
Hello. So in this meditation, we want to explore physical sensations, the physical sensations that come up with HS and also other physical sensations in the body of which there are many. So I’m inviting you to find a posture that is as comfortable as possible in this moment. So, you could be sitting. You can lie down. You can also stand up, and you also don’t have to be still.
00:00:44:09 - 00:01:53:00
Sometimes we think meditation always has to be still. It does not. So sometimes it can be nice to just sway the body a little or to make circles with the spine. So you find your own way. And then closing the eyes so that feels comfortable, or you can just lower your gaze, and if that feels OK, maybe starting with feeling the sensations of the breath in the body, and maybe making these first few breaths a little bit longer and deeper. So you can really feel the breath and not in a forced way, but a little bit more pronounced inhalation, the exhalation.
00:02:12:14 - 00:02:52:23
When we’re struggling with a chronic health condition like HS, chances are that the attention will immediately go to where there are symptoms in the body, like itch, an itch or pain or any other sensations, but the truth is, there are so many other sensations in the body at the same time, so only that the brain learns to not really pay attention to them anymore.
00:02:53:15 - 00:03:41:17
So now we want to practice to open that field again. So inviting you to bring the awareness into your feet and just noticing what kind of sensations are there right now. Maybe sensing into the soles of the feet on the ground, the contact with the heels with the bedding you’re lying down and noticing if the feet are warm or cold.
00:03:51:00 - 00:04:10:00
You might notice that the attention might either go into thinking or go back to where the symptoms are in the body, and you can notice that and then redirect the attention to another place in the body.
00:04:10:01 - 00:04:31:04
Right now, the feet and then noticing if the feet are in pain, and if they’re not, then you’ve found an area that you can focus on instead of putting the full attention on where the symptoms are.
00:04:34:11 - 00:05:21:01
And now checking with the rest of your legs like lower legs, knees, upper legs, and just checking for any sensations of contact, temperature, position, really feeling them, so not thinking about them but feeling them, and doing the same thing now with like the lower trunk, the pelvis area, belly, and then the chest.
00:05:30:23 - 00:06:13:06
And there might be areas where you feel the symptoms, and again, you can either just bring the attention to another place in the body that feels neutral, or either or to another place in the body that feels neutral, or even pleasant, or you can feel sense into the area of the symptoms and the places that are not in pain.
00:06:15:08 - 00:07:50:08
So it’s not an either or, but a yes, and and that is like opening a camera lens and being zoomed in on the pain or the itch or whatever sensations are there to those symptoms and symptoms of no pain and other sensations, and again, bring awareness to the arms and then sensing into your hands, and then also bringing awareness to the area of the neck, the head, and some areas we can feel really well and others not or not so much.
00:07:52:20 - 00:08:36:04
We can still place the awareness there. And then lastly, if you want to actually explore the sensations, the symptoms, the sensations of the symptoms a little bit more, so you can toggle back and forth between an area that is not in pain or that is not challenging, and the area of the symptom.
00:08:38:23 - 00:09:00:15
You can go back and forth, and then with a symptom, you can either just go to the border of the symptom, so to where you can barely feel it, so if there’s pain, pain usually has a core and then it kind of teeters out.
00:09:01:02 - 00:09:36:17
It fades out, and can you place the awareness there where it’s less, where it’s maybe almost gone. And then seeing if you can be curious about what sensations are actually here in this area in this moment.
00:09:43:04 - 00:09:58:11
We often just call it pain or we call it terrible or something, and that’s not a sensation per se. So if you break it down, what is that actually? What can you sense here right now?
00:10:02:11 - 00:10:13:12
It can be all kinds of different sensations like pressure or like stabbing, searing, tearing.
00:10:15:00 - 00:10:53:01
Think hard or soft, dull or sharp. So many other sensations. Maybe taking a moment and sensing into this area right now. And if it feels too much, you just go out and then you toggle back to the place where it feels neutral.
00:11:07:23 - 00:11:42:17
And then as we're closing now, inviting you to just for a moment, sensing your whole body, sitting here, lying here with all the different sensations of this moment, and then thanking yourself for having taken this time with your body to be with your body, maybe in a little bit different way.
00:11:46:06 - 00:12:07:21
And then I’ll be ringing my chimes to end this meditation.